Thursday, February 21, 2008

CD Review: Greatest Hits

1) Something In The Way She Moves
2) Carolina In My Mind
3) Fire And Rain
4) Sweet Baby James
5) Country Road
6) You've Got A Friend
7) Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
8) Walking Man
9) How Sweet It Is
10) Mexico
11) Shower The People
12) Steamroller
James Taylor can do it all. Check out Byron Berline's fiddle and Dan Dugmore's steel on "Carolina In My Mind." Do I smell a hint of country? Right after that, there's the beautifully simple "Fire And Rain", with James backed only by bass, drums, and Carole King on piano. A few tracks later comes his version of "How Sweet It Is", the perfect background music for a dating site's commercials.
But everyone knows this guy's style. James Taylor is the definition of mellow, a smooth-voiced storyteller strumming his acoustic guitar. That's how he rolls.
Which is why "Steamroller" is a shock. A slow blues? Solos? The king of mellow is a closet blues man?
Well, whoever chose the tracks for this album sure did a great job. I would've put "Steamroller" before "Shower the People", shock the listeners with this anomaly of a song, only to follow it up with a peace and love anthem they might actually, you know, expect. Either way, that's the track mom's gonna skip.
But believe it or not, James Taylor pulled it off just as well as he did all the other songs on this disc. He's the best kind of musician - a versatile one. This collection has country, soul, jazz, blues, and soft rock, all sung by that instantly recognizable voice. And he pulls it off, too.
***** out of five

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